I have always heard from my father about the beauty of Kashmir and that it is actually a Heaven of Earth…which is indeed true! The beauty of this place is mesmerizing , full of picturesque view spread all around, interesting people, also full of exotic and tempting dishes to gorge on!
In Kashmir, not only lies the natural beauty but lies here the treasure of excellent quality of fruits, vegetables, dry fruits and delicious food. Kashmiris, especially the vegetarian people use the stem of lotus nadru in variety of dishes.
I moved towards a little shop situated at Khaniasadak which is almost 50 year old! Here, Mohd. Ashraf prepares fresh bread and I saw his wife serving Noon Chai with bread. Localites like to eat this bread with Noon Chai , they call this bread, roti. Kashmiri people keep Noon chai with them all day long. In first instance, it looks like a melted butter on milk but when you take a sip, the exotic taste of this tea makes you its fan forever!!
Mr.Sadik, who is a houseboat owner, told me about the process of preparing Noon Chai. Sadik Saab took a copper utensil and boiled some water and after that added leaves of Kashmiri tea into it. After boiling it became reddish in color, he added milk and after taking it off from the stove, added a pinch of salt to it after that poured it into traditional Samovar.
After tasting this awesome tea, I went to Srinagar’s one of the famous bakery, Ali Sons Bakery , Mr.Abdul Latif is the owner of this shop. Here biscuit is called Kulcha. On top of these Kulcha’s there is a layer which is a mixture of Khus-Khus and sweet and salty flavour.
After this for lunch, I chose to check out the famous Restaurant. Here I came to know that Kashmiri cuisine is divided into Vazvan and Pandit. Vazvan food is always non-vegetarian and Pandit food is purely vegetarian. In my ordered Thali, there were aromatic rice, with veg kababs and in a bowl, Kadhi which was luke-warm. Food was good and flavourful but to get a more authentic experience of Pandit food, since I am a North Indian Pandit myself! I chose to spend my next day with a Kashmiri Pandit family. Kashmir’s vegetarian food is excellent, especially of Kashmiri Pandits! No spices, only salt, asefotida (Heeng) , turmeric and sometimes a bit of pepper used. The oil they mostly use is Mustard oil. Whatever Mrs. Sujata had prepared for me in that there was only Dum Aloo was one dish in which there were spices used. Food that we eat in rest of the India, the taste of the food was unique and light.
It was a memorable experience for me. Entire Kashmir is full of tasteful and tempting food! Come and explore this beautiful and tasteful heaven some day!
Will keep you posted with more of such experiences!!